You have been working in the animal health sector for a long time, what are you most passionate about in the industry? Can you give us a quick overview of your role at Elanco, and what you like most about it?
First and foremost, I am a veterinarian: I love animals and I myself am the proud owner of a Rhodesian ridgeback, two sheep and four chickens. I am passionately interested in farm animals, all – sheep, chickens, pigs, cows and even fish and it has been a privilege for me to work with vets and breeders for 28 years at Elanco, a company that provides important products to veterinarians and breeders – products that really help them care for the animals in their care.
It is this great challenge to feed a growing, urban and often very poor population with milk, meat, eggs and fish, while being determined to find ways to maintain and improve animal welfare. that motivates me and motivates me. We all have different roles in this area – and I have found my place.
I am the Executive Director of Public Policy at Elanco Europe and International and our team is responsible for fostering a policy environment that enables and enables our customers to provide safe and affordable food, as well as to improve animal welfare and reduce the environmental impact. This means that they must be able to use animal health products that are approved by regulatory authorities, that have been shown to be safe for humans, animals and the environment, and that are effective. We therefore work with our customers, their associations and other stakeholders to ensure that policy makers both in the food chain and in government understand that the policy environment they are putting in place around the use of animal health products in livestock should be based on scientific and evidence-based data. . It should also allow the sustainable production of milk, eggs, fish and meat.
What do you think of the European Green Deal and the farm-to-fork strategy? How has this affected the public’s perception of animal protein and how has it affected your role as executive director of public policy?
Elanco, as a member of our professional association AnimalHealthEurope, very strongly supports European Livestock Voice – a coalition of associations representing the livestock industry and community in Europe. This coalition of like-minded partners has decided to bring back a balanced debate around a sector that plays such a vital role in Europe’s rich heritage and future, by educating the public on the social value of Europe. breeding and its contributions to global challenges.
I think the best word that has been coined by the coalition is the word âparadoxâ and we have to look directly at the paradox represented by the Farm to Fork strategy. Significantly reducing the carbon footprint of animal production is something we all support, as is promoting the biodiversity of our countryside for our enjoyment and that of our children, and continuing to be the world leader in terms of good. -be animal. However, we need to recognize and fight against the paradox – with the commitment to increased organic farming where a lot of technologies and innovations can be banned on one side and the equally important demand to drastically reduce the footprint. carbon. A very simple conundrum is that organically raised broilers have a significantly higher feed conversion rate than conventional broilers – and feed conversion results in carbon efficiency – so how do we marry the two?
This is a very important debate, and we see an opportunity because the farm-to-fork strategy is policy but NOT regulation; we, as a herding community, will need to be very vigilant and aligned as we contribute to the proposed regulations – and ensure that the evidence and science is recognized. There is an opportunity to conduct science-based policies also beyond Europe, at a global level. Ahead of the United Nations Food Systems Summit and Climate Change Conference (COP26), Elanco convened leaders of the animal protein industry to ask for the opportunity to work in partnership with the UN, elected officials, experts and other key stakeholders to identify and propose essential solutions in nutrition and climate change that also opens up economic opportunities.
Where is innovation progressing the most with Elanco’s One Health approach, and where should innovation be accelerated?
The driving force behind Elanco’s commitment to innovation in breeding stems from our environmental and social governance commitments that we have made to our investors and stakeholders. These revolve around 4 pillars that we call our Healthy Purpose commitments and these are Healthier Animals, Healthier People, a Healthier Planet, and a Healthier Business – they’re really a derivation of classic definitions of one health and sustainability.
These commitments include certain measures that we must respect. One of them is our âPlanet Pledgeâ, where we promise, by 2030, to eliminate 21 million tonnes of emissions from our customers’ farms while reducing our own impact on the planet. How are we going to do this? By providing more products and new innovations and services to more customers, which in turn reduce the carbon footprint of their animal production systems. This means for example launching an enzyme called Hemicell in pigs which breaks down beta-mannans (the non-digestible fraction of soybean meal) into calories, or contributing to a significant improvement in the gut health of broilers with our products and services – and measure that with our HTSi analysis system. Another example is our commitment to ruminants with both existing and developing products so that rumen fermentation is optimized and methane production is reduced.
If you look at a crystal ball, where do you see the animal health and animal technology industry in the next 5-10 years? What major changes do you think there have been there?
If we are looking for the greatest impact, the first question to ask is: where will the consumers be? And I think the balance of wisdom is that the consumption of livestock products will continue and in segments will recover and increase (for example, poultry products and fish in Europe, pork, poultry and fish in emerging markets). This is why it is so important that we continue to educate consumers about the science of animal agriculture and lead informed discussions, also in the world of social media.
At the same time, there is no doubt that the mandate and incentive to reduce the carbon footprint will increase. I am sure that products will emerge that can help farmers achieve this, products whose impact can be measured and therefore potentially monetized, certainly on a global scale. And if the science is real, approvable, and reproducible on large populations of animals, then I have no doubt the funding will flow. I also expect important new segments of breeding to continue to develop. Historically, we’ve seen the free-range pig and the barn layer, now the slow-growing broiler, and several new aquatic species besides salmon are emerging. These new segments present different types of diseases and productivity issues – and will be a very important opportunity for innovation.
Join George Tice at the Animal AgTech Innovation Summit (October 19-20). Watch his roundtable live on âBalancing Sustainability, Well-Being and Profitability – A Whole System Approachâ on October 20 at 1:00 PM CEST.
Register now to join the summit and save an extra 10% with our discount code: PS10